Monday, August 3, 2009


One year ago today, I was on I-40 somewhere in the middle of the United States. I had just left the only place I'd ever called home in Yucaipa, CA. I had left the only ministry I'd ever known. I left my extended family, my friends, my security, my paycheck, much of my stuff. Ahead of me there were many more miles on my way to Durham, NC. There was also a new life waiting for me, a new adventure, a new ministry, new friends, new neighbors, new purpose, new challenges. As I sat with the Story Church launch team on Saturday night in my house, I was blown away by all that has happened over the last year. What began as a vision God gave me and my wife to plant a life-giving church is now a vision that several people share. When we moved here we didn't know anyone. Today we have a team. We didn't know where this church would be - today we have a location. We didn't know if the money would come in - we've never gone hungry.

There have been days over the past year where I have wondered what it would have been like if I stayed in CA. Some days I've been lonely and longed for the deep friendships I left behind. Other times I thought about how nice it was to never worry about whether or not money would show up in the mailbox to pay the bills that were due this week. But then I look at the people on our team and I am amazed. I am amazed that a group of people who didn't know each other a year ago now gather every week to dream together about a church that will transform lives and demonstrate the resurrected Jesus in this community. I'm amazed that God has gone before us and prepared the way.

I always compare that longing feeling, that looking back at the way things were, to the Israelites who were rescued from Egypt. In the Scriptures we learn of this people who were slaves in Egypt. God rescued them out of Egypt and led them to the "Promised Land". But they didn't just go straight there. They first went out into the wilderness. And the wilderness lasted a long time. And it was difficult. And it didn't take long for them to start looking back over their shoulders and longing for Egypt. They longed for the place where they were slaves in forced labor, a people with no identity, no land for themselves, and no hope. It seems strange from our perspective, but I don't think it's that strange really. I think it's natural. I think we long for the things that we know already - even if they aren't ideal. Because going out into the wilderness is scary. It's difficult.

But on the other side, there's a promised land. There's blessing. There's hope.

I don't know what that looks like for you. But I hope that you have the courage to keep looking ahead. Keep following the vision God has given you. There's something so much better just ahead.


Therfore yucaipa = slavery.

I like all of the pictures you've been putting on your blog. It's just more fun.

-Nicholas Tate

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